Letter: Officials deserve praise for protecting Alaska’s chinooks

Alaskans should be proud and thank Gov. Parnell and Commissioner of Fish and Game Cora Campbell for their impressive leadership on behalf of our chinook salmon. This past week in Juneau, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to place the first-ever cap on chinook salmon bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska non-pollock trawl fisheries. Commissioner Campbell made the motion and fought hard for a lower, meaningful cap. Closing this loophole will restrain the number of valuable kings that bottom trawl fisheries targeting cod, rockfish, arrowtooth flounder and sole can discard.

With declining chinook runs across the state impacting a variety of user groups, this was an important step in reducing mortality in our ailing chinook stocks. The state has also made vital funding available for chinook salmon research. We applaud this leadership and hope to see it continue in the future. Chinook salmon are Alaska’s state fish and crucial to the economic, cultural and social fabric of our communities.

— Gary Ault, owner/operator Inlet Charters, Homer;

Eric Jordan, commercial salmon troller, Sitka;

Kip Thomet, commercial fisherman, Kodiak;

David Bayes, owner/operator charter vessel Grand Aleutian, Homer;

Pete Wedin, owner/operator Captain Pete’s Alaska, Homer